Greengrass in Deadsnows

Thulsa Doomhammer could hear nothing over the sounds of footfalls and his own panting breaths, but he knew—simply knew—that 700 pounds of troll would bear down on him at any moment. Agarik, once a mighty warrior in service of the region's troll chieftan, Mycetes, had established himself on the western edge of Mount Oervhek, and so Thulsa and the Silver Company, over which he was the de facto leader, had little choice but to drive out or kill the troll, lest he become a danger to the civilized people of the Silver Marches. Unfortunately, the Silver Company, for all their skill at arms, fought as disorganized rabble and had launched a premature and impromptu attack on a reasonably-fortified position. Rather than be slaughtered by the troll and his ogre minions, the Silver Company elected for retreat, the giants at their heels. And so the wizard ran faster.

Thulsa didn't know this, but Agarik had instead given chase to Ivellios Thornblade. Agarik realized his folly shortly into the chase, as the wood elf was the only member of the Silver Company able to outrun him, and had practiced blending into the forest for well over a century. Fearing an ambush, the troll lumbered back into the wilderness, though Ivellios was long-gone at this point.

The Silver Company regrouped about a mile from the village of Deadsnows, and broken and bloodied as they were, they had all survived. From where they stood it was obvious the Greengrass festival had begun—soon the Silver Company would disregard their troubles amidst the merrymaking; good music, dancing, strong drink and a feast would all help the Silver Company forget. Though the feast celebrated the beginning of spring, this season was elusive in the North, but the folk here did not mind. Paron Andris led the Silver Company in a march across the snow-covered gold fields toward the town. "At least there was little snow in town," they thought.

The town had been through a great deal of late, but the elated faces of the townspeople certainly did little to show it. They had much to be thankful for—in the week since the Silver Company had arrived in Deadsnows, they had killed a predacious dragon-kin, assassinated a vile crime lord, captured a sadistic orc prince, and expelled a would-be usurper of a wizard, whose dark will would have found the entire town in shackles. For some members of the Silver Company, the peoples' thanks was enough; yet for others, there was always a nagging feeling that doing good for good's sake simply was an undesirable goal. For what is was worth, the people of Deadsnows would have gladly given what was theirs to the Silver Company, but few (if any) had anything the Silver Company wanted.

As the members of the Silver Company passed through the gate, they were greeted by the cheers of those nearby. Deadsnows was normally a sleepy little town, but today was alight with excitement. Crowds of people sitting on the grass with flowers in their hair called out to the Silver Company with delight. The gods had blessed this day with warm weather, at least, and groups of girls in gossamer dresses gathered to do the misty mountain hop.

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Paron Andris simply pushed through the dancing girls and made a beeline for the Morning Watchtower. Sitting outside the temple, he found the paladin Günther, who was recovering swiftly from his injuries but had still not regained full mobility with his sword-hand. Paron told him of their ally Girard, who had abandoned Torm amid Zhentarim torture and had accepted Bane as his sovereign. They lamented for their lost ally and soon Paron and Günther together entreated Torm for the strength to avenge their friends Girard, Pierre, and Jacques.

Lady Icespear walked through the crowds of people, handing out wreathes of flowers as the people called to her. She tried her hardest be happy on this day of days, but it was apparently to every member of the Silver Company that she had grown weary with the goings-on of the world and her burden was simply too much weight to bear. It's true that everyone in this town had lost friends, but Lady Icespear's ordeal had been exceptionally discouraging. Thulsa Doomhammer stopped to speak with the Lady, and amid the cheering crowds, implored the town's only noble to forgive herself. Lady Icespear cursed her own weakness, and lamented that she nearly brought low her entire town, but Thulsa knew that from weakness one could draw strength. Thulsa was one of the Untheric people, who had long warred with their neighbors, the Mulhorandi. Though Unther was in decline and their god-king's corpse drifted through the astral plane, the people fought Mulhorand to their last breaths, ever-hopeful their god-king (or at least Thay!) would aid them in their struggle and drive the Pharaoh's army back to Mulhorand. As one who had tasted death, Thulsa knew there was no motivator stronger than revenge. Lady Icespear heeded Thulsa's words, and her spirits were notably lifted. It was not her fault—the Zhentarim was to blame.

The militia and town watch were in exceptionally low spirits, with the news of Mannock's death. Though some struggled to enjoy themselves, most just moped around or were on their thirteenth mug of mead. Ivellios Thornblade found the guards loitering within the town walls, and quickly moved to put a stop to this. So what if they had lost their captain? 800-lbs. of troll could come dashing through the gate at any moment, and the town would need to be prepared. The death of one soldier was nothing to Ivellios, who had buried his entire family less than a year ago. Though the guards initially resented the wood elf's candor, they knew Mannock would have chastised them in the same manner. The gate guards took up their positions, and the off-duty members of the Watch left for the barracks to reinforce the gate.

Though Ashnar the Humble was in exceptional spirits, most members of the Morning Watchtower were upset with they attack on their church, and even others were upset with the peoples' rejoicing at what they considered such an ill time for celebration. Respen Tuin approached a particularly sore-looking group of clerics and began to speak with them on the nature of life and loss. Though his religious background would not aid him in his task, Respen was a drow elf, a people who defined their very social status through assassination and torture. If death had become such a mundane thing for anyone, certainly it would have been Respen. Within moments, the clerics arose and moved swiftly to join in the celebration. Hatred for the Zhentarim still burned in their hearts—and Lathander welcomed it.

Some of the monks of the Morning Watchtower, who had sworn off earthly pleasures, worked on repairing the watchtower to its former glory rather than celebrate the coming of spring. Master craftsman Zichew Bejiad took it upon himself to aid the monks. Parties were boring, but cathedral reconstruction—absolutely fascinating. Unfortunately for the gnome, Drago Lundgren was a legal scholar of considerable skill, and suggested that the monks halt their work immediately, for it was heresy for followers of Lathander to perform manual labor on the Faerûnian holiday most important to the Dawnbringer. The monks reluctantly agreed, and Zichew was left alone with some now-depressed peasant laborers who had hoped to collect holiday pay. The gnome was, if anything, resourceful, and put his brand new Marvelous Automatic Upright Edifice Reconstructor with its Magnificent Universal Surface Painter attachment to work. Though the machine was a significant boon to the construction effort, the paint dispenser was not designed for vertical operation, and the skin of several of the laborers will remain green for some time to come.

Thulsa Doomhammer did not have time to celebrate, and quickly found a quiet place to study inside the tavern that was once called the Vandarhouse. Thulsa thought for a moment about his experiences with the troll's cave—he had been their before, after all, when it was still run by orcs. Given the reaction times of all those within the troll cave, it's unlikely that the deeper rooms were in use—or, if they were in use, that their muster was brought against the Silver Company. Assuming those rooms were in use, however, an estimate of another 6-10 ogres and 10-20 orcs would not be unreasonable. All of this assumes that Agarik had not recruited any other trolls, which would make the entire ordeal significantly more difficult. However, none of this mattered, as one truth drilled itself deep into Thulsa's brain—so long as the troll Agarik has a ring of fire resistance, the Silver Company is simply not capable of killing him.

And so, the night of Greengrass passed. Paron spent the evening in quiet meditation, focusing on Torm's divine will. Zichew managed a tenday's reconstruction in only a single night and part of the next morning. Thulsa pored over several manuscripts on the nature of orcs and lesser giants, eventually producing a parchment that outlines a tactical operation he thinks would be capable of felling the troll Agarik. Most helpful among these old documents are old mine logbooks recovered long ago, a map of the western edge of Mount Oervhek, and a treatise on trolls by Elminster Aumar, the Sage of Shadowdale.

Drago Lundgren, Ivellios Thornblade, and Respen Tuin partied late into the night, taking a break from the hard life of an adventuring with some much-needed relaxation.

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